The announcement was made in a ballroom at the Universal Hilton Hotel in North Hollywood, Calif.
Mariachis serenaded guests and media before Angel Benton, of AngelBenton.com, took the podium to moderate the event.
“I was emphatic with Howard,” Forest said, “that we have a personal touch.”
Forest said that they had held off releasing the news to the media, though rumors about the impending retirement had been swirling. The news remained unconfirmed until today’s press conference.
“I’m very proud to hand to turn my business over to Howard,” Forest added. “He deserves it.”
He also said that, in his 27-year tenure, lately the business had lost a some of its glamour, and that by handing the Forest Men stable of stars to the management of Fabscout owner Howard Andrew, that it might help the business “get up on it’s feet a little bit.”
Andrew started off by joking that Forest had been in the business for “2,600 years.”
He announced, in short order, that Fabscout would be opening a new Los Angeles office by Monday, July 7, and that he would be spending a third of his time on the West Coast, as well as being assisted by his present staff and the addition of Eric Hansen, to handle live appearances for the agency.
Benton asked a few questions before the floor was opened to the media. The most interest was generated by whether Forest’s infamous “Meet the Stars” program would continue. The program, which arranged introductions between celebrity clients and customers interested in one-on-one bookings, is not something that Fabscout has ever facilitated.
Andrew replied that it has been the agency's policy to not handle one-on-one bookings, but that models on the Fabscout roster were free to access the RentBoy.com for those bookings.
“I’m sticking to my guns on that,” Andrew emphasized.
He and Forest both agreed that the “Meet the Stars” program would continue, under a different guise, as a method of arranging appearances for stars in nightclub and live event venues.
Forest said that he was planning on taking several months hiatus, and afterward, might contemplate returning to the business in a limited capacity.
“I certainly have great interest in this industry,” Forest said. “But I have to see where my head is at. Maybe I’ll manage a couple of special events.”
As for the ForestMen.com website, it was also acquired by Fabscout as part of the deal with Forest.
Fabscout, which was founded six years ago by Andrew, represents performers Brad Star, Andrew Justice, Barrett Long, R.J. Danvers, Damien Crosse, Derrick Hanson, Jonathan Lowe and many more.
“We’re going to miss him and he is the best,” model Johnny Castle told XBIZ. He and Forest had a partnership for recruiting new talent, and Castle was a longtime client. Castle said he would have to speak to Andrew, before deciding whether he might work with Fabscout in any position beyond modeling.
After coming to the gay adult industry after working as a talent manager in the music business for the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Motley Crüe, Forest cut a flamboyant figure, representing A-list performers including Ryan Idol and Ken Ryker, as well as several of the best known models of today, with Johnny Castle, Zeb Atlas, Tony Capucci and Mark Dalton on the list, among others.
Other industry personalities that turned out for the conference included directors Doug Jeffries, Jim Steele, Paul Barresi, Phil St. John, Jamie Hendrix, Falcon exclusive Tony Capucci, Shane’s World Megan Stokes, legendary performer Sharon Kane and Forest’s attorney Betsy Mogul, among others.
“I’m just ecstatic that some many people came out to say goodbye, and hear the news in person,” Forest told XBIZ. “It’s interesting that Paul Barresi brought up the point that Howard has a little bit different way of doing his bookings.”
Forest did raise the question of returning from hiatus, in order to manage select talent on a limited basis, and also addressed the recent brouhaha over Atlas’ un-consummated topping scene that was schedule to be shot for Falcon, with Falcon exclusive Matthew Rush.
“Zeb’s not interested in working with him in a full-on scene, so Falcon has to decide sand so does Zeb,” Forest said, still reluctant to let go of representing his client’s best interests. “He’s got a bad taste, literally, in his mouth right now about the whole thing. I suggested let’s get Roman Hart or Erik Rhodes.”
But then, Forest lamented, “I stayed a little too long, to tell you the truth, because I was staring to get annoyed by the business and people talking crap about me.
“I do my announcements in a place like this,” he said, surveying the large ballroom, with its plush fixtures and crystal chandeliers.
“I’m a class act and Howard is classy, and the business needs to up its bar a little bit,” he said. “I got a note from [Odyssey Group Video’s] Bob East saying he couldn’t be here today, and he said, ‘You know, David, the business sure has changed.’ But we’ll see what happens — if my energy is there and my interest is there, maybe so.”